Pending civil suit connected to Burge

May 24, 2010 11:15:30 AM PDT
There is one civil lawsuit pending in connection with allegations of torture by Chicago police officers under the command of Jon Burge. Tuesday, Burge was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say he lied under oath when he said he did not participate in torture.

The pending lawsuit was filed by Darrell Cannon. The city is fighting the Cannon lawsuit contending that his torture claims were resolved years ago in a settlement that gave him several thousand dollars.

Cannon's case, however, goes on as one that involves powerful allegations against Jon Burge and a group of former detectives under his command, detectives who Cannon says used a shotgun to win a false confession.

"So when I refused to tell him anything, he took the shotgun and forced it into my mouth," said Darrell Cannon.

Three times, Darrell Cannon says, the shotgun was placed in his mouth and the trigger pulled. It was 1983 -- in a remote area -- Cannon says that three detectives under the supervision of Jon Burge told him they had a scientific way of getting to the truth. After the shotgun, and a cattle prod, Cannon says he would have confessed to anything -- and he did, to a murder he says he didn't commit.

After 24 years in prison, Cannon, now 57, was released a year-and-a-half-ago. He is angry. His recollections of the day of his arrest remain vivid.

"I think about it every night. For 24 years I have had no peace, no peace whatsoever," said Cannon.

Tuesday changed that a bit for Darrell Cannon with the perjury and obstruction of justice indictment of ex-commander Jon Burge.

Cannon is one of those who have sued over the torture allegations. His case is still being argued. The detectives in Cannon's case have denied that they did anything improper.

The U.S. attorney hinted strongly Tuesday the Burge case is going beyond Burge. Was there a point in the feds investigation, he was asked, when he knew they'd be able to prove up that incidents of torture did occur?

"Well, there was a moment but I'm not going to describe it," said Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney.

Might that mean that someone involved in the Burge cases has flipped for the government? No one's saying.

Darrell Cannon doesn't know, but he believes there will be more indictments.

"I'm going to continue. Justice has been slow, 24 years slow but, you know, something is better than nothing," Cannon said.

Before Cannon was released from prison, one of the detectives involved in his 1983 arrest told the prisoner review board that Cannon was a convicted murder who was arrested for another murder, and if he was released, he would murder again.

All the detectives involved in Cannon's 1983 arrest have retired. One has died. Those named in the lawsuit have all denied the torture allegations.

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